North Wales Coast Line
The North Wales Coast Line known as the North Wales Main Line, is the railway line from Crewe to Holyhead. Virgin Trains consider their services along it to be a spur of the West Coast Main Line. In April 2006, Network Rail organised its maintenance and train control operations into "26 Routes"; the main line through Crewe forms part of Route 18. The North Wales Coast Line from Crewe to Chester and North Wales has been designated Route 22 and this includes the line to Chester from Acton Grange Junction, south of Warrington; the line from Shrewsbury to Chester via Wrexham is Route 14. The line is not electrified, so Virgin Trains, the current operator of the InterCity West Coast franchise uses its diesel Super Voyagers, which they have done since December 2007, on routes to Holyhead. There are no official plans to electrify the line, but both the Welsh government and former Chancellor George Osborne have indicated that there is a strong case for electrification in the future; the line contains several notable engineering structures, namely Conwy railway bridge across the River Conwy, Britannia Bridge across the Menai Strait.
The first section from Crewe to Chester was built by the Chester and Crewe Railway and absorbed by the Grand Junction Railway shortly before opening in 1840. The remainder was built between 1844 and 1850 by the Chester and Holyhead Railway Company as the route of the Irish Mail services to Dublin; the line was incorporated in the London and North Western Railway. Between Chester and Saltney Junction, the line was, from the start, used by trains of the Shrewsbury and Chester Railway to be incorporated in the Great Western Railway. So important was the line in the 19th and early 20th centuries to passenger and freight traffic between Britain and Ireland that the world's first experimental and operational water troughs were installed at Mochdre between Colwyn Bay and Llandudno Junction, their purpose was to enable steam engines to collect water without stopping. Considerable stretches of line between Chester and Colwyn Bay were quadrupled to increase line capacity but these sections have now been reduced to two tracks.
The main towns served by the route are listed below: Crewe Chester Line diverges to serve Wrexham and Cardiff Wirral Line diverges to serve Birkenhead and Liverpool - Route 21 Shotton The Borderlands Line from Wrexham to Bidston crosses at Shotton with interchange facilities. Flint Prestatyn Rhyl Abergele Colwyn Bay Llandudno Junction Lines diverge to serve Blaenau Ffestiniog and Llandudno Conwy Penmaenmawr Llanfairfechan Bangor Llanfairpwll Line diverges to Amlwch Bodorgan Ty Croes Rhosneigr Valley Freight from Wylfa nuclear power station is loaded at a depot in Valley Holyhead Principal through passenger services are London Euston to Holyhead, Bangor and Wrexham General operated by Virgin Trains and Crewe to Holyhead, Cardiff to Holyhead and Manchester to Llandudno operated by Transport for Wales Rail. A revised timetable has operated since December 2005 incorporating a new service to and from Cardiff Central every two hours; the line still provides the UK railway part of the through passenger service to Dublin using fast car ferries from Holyhead to Dublin Port.
The Welsh Government would like the line to be electrified if Crewe becomes a rail hub due to HS2 in 2026. Chancellor George Osborne said in July 2015 that there was a "really strong case" for electrification of the line; the Electrification Task Force said that the Chester to Crewe line was a Tier 2 priority for being electrified in the CP6 period. A £50 million signalling upgrade programme is being carried out between Shotton and Colwyn Bay, which will see modular colour lights supervised from the South Wales Rail Operating Centre in Cardiff replace the manual signal boxes and mixture of semaphore and older colour lights in use, in March 2018. Allen, David. "Sun, sand...and semaphores". RAIL. No. 307. EMAP Apex Publications. Pp. 40–45. ISSN 0953-4563. OCLC 49953699
Rhyl railway station
Rhyl railway station is on the Crewe to Holyhead North Wales Coast Line and serves the holiday resort of Rhyl, Wales. The station was opened to traffic on 1 May 1848, being one of the original intermediate stations on the Chester and Holyhead Railway main line along the coast. Trains could run between Chester and Bangor from the day the station opened, but it would be a further two years before the completion of the Britannia Bridge across the Menai Straits allowed through running to and from Holyhead. A two-platform station was provided by the C&HR, with a main two-storey building on the eastbound side. A decade it became a junction with the opening of a branch line to Denbigh on 5 October 1858; the C&HR was taken over by the London and North Western Railway a few months with the Vale of Clwyd being leased by the LNWR in 1867 to prevent the rival Great Western Railway acquiring it and thus gaining access to the area. Under LNWR auspices the coast line became one of the company's major trunk routes, serving several popular holiday resorts in addition to the port of Holyhead.
The rapid increase in traffic led the company to quadruple most of the section between Chester and Llandudno Junction in the 1890s to provide extra capacity. This included the Prestatyn to Abergele stretch in 1897 and the station at Rhyl was remodelled and enlarged as a result; the westbound platform was re-located and widened into an island with an extra loop line on the south side, new bay platforms added and a pair of non-platform lines laid in the centre of the station for use by non-stop trains. A covered footbridge was provided to link the platforms, along with extensive awnings to shelter passengers and two large brick and timber signal boxes built to control the new layout; these were all completed and the new layout commissioned in 1900. Rhyl would remain a popular holiday destination throughout the 20th century, though after World War II and nationalisation of the railway system in 1948 the Denbigh branch would see its service reduced. Excursions and goods traffic would continue until the line's eventual closure to all traffic in March 1965.
The 1960s and 70s would see the main line lose much of the additional infrastructure added by the LNWR as road competition and changing holiday habits led to a decline in summer passenger numbers. By 1976 both slow lines towards Abergele had been lifted, along with west-end bays at the station and the up slow westwards to Prestatyn, whilst the down loop platform saw use only on summer weekends; the remaining down slow from Prestatyn, goods sidings and platform 3 line at the station survived until 1990, when they were lifted and Rhyl No2 signal box closed. Though the latter still survives, the site of the old platform 3 and goods yard has been redeveloped. Only the two through platforms remain in use in 2016, along with the down through line and a pair of engineers sidings; these are supervised from the former No.1 signal box. This will be made redundant in March 2018, when a new modular colour light signalling system controlled from the South Wales Rail Operating Centre is brought into use between Shotton and Colwyn Bay as part of a £50 million route upgrade project.
Ticket barriers are in operation at the station. A ticket machine is available for use outside of these times and for collecting pre-paid tickets purchased online or via telephone. There are toilets, a cafe, retail units and waiting room in the main building. Platform 2 has a waiting shelter and canopies, but the remaining buildings there are not in rail use; the platforms are linked by a footbridge with integrated lift, so both are accessible for disabled passengers. Train running information is offered via digital display screens, automated announcements and timetable poster boards. Monday to Saturday: Transport for Wales operates an alternate hourly service from Holyhead to Birmingham International and to Cardiff Central, both via Chester, Wrexham General and Shrewsbury. Transport for Wales operates an hourly stopping service between Llandudno and Manchester Piccadilly or Manchester Airport via Warrington Bank Quay. Virgin Trains operates a number of services from Bangor to London Euston. Two weekday services operate between Crewe-Bangor/Holyhead.
On Sundays, there is an hourly service each way - westbound to Holyhead and eastbound to Crewe, plus four through trains to London. Mitchell, Vic. Chester to Rhyl. West Sussex: Middleton Press. Figs. 86-98. ISBN 9781906008932. OCLC 795178960. Mitchell, Vic. Branch Lines around Denbigh. West Sussex: Middleton Press. Figs. 1-5. ISBN 9781908174321. OCLC 814270878. Mitchell, Vic. Rhyl to Bangor. West Sussex: Middleton Press. Figs. 1-11. ISBN 9781908174154. OCLC 859594415. Train times and station information for Rhyl railway station from National Rail
Birmingham International railway station
Birmingham International is a railway station located in Solihull in the West Midlands, to the east of the city of Birmingham, England. The station is on the Rugby–Birmingham–Stafford Line 14 km east of Birmingham New Street and serves Birmingham Airport, National Exhibition Centre and Resorts World Birmingham; the station was designed by the architect Ray Moorcroft and opened on 26 January 1976, has regular train services to many parts of the country. It was named Birmingham International after the adjacent airport, at the time named Birmingham International Airport, but has since been rebranded as Birmingham Airport; the station is managed by Virgin Trains and is served by CrossCountry, Transport for Wales and West Midlands Trains. It has five platforms, consisting of two islands and one side platform numbered 1-5 from south to north; the basic off-peak service is as follows: Virgin Trains 3 trains per hour to London Euston 2 trains per hour to Birmingham New Street 1 train per hour to Glasgow Central/Edinburgh Waverley via Birmingham New Street and Wolverhampton 2 trains per day to ShrewsburyDuring rush hour certain Virgin services to/from London Euston start and terminate here.
Transport for Wales 1 train per hour to Shrewsbury, of which: 1 train per two hours continues to Aberystwyth and Pwllheli after dividing at Machynlleth 1 train per two hours continues to Holyhead via Wrexham General and ChesterCrossCountry 1 train per hour to Manchester Piccadilly 1 train per hour to Bournemouth via ReadingWest Midlands Trains 4 trains per hour to Birmingham New Street 3 trains per hour to London Euston via Northampton A maglev service ran from the airport terminal to the station from 1984 until 1995. The train "flew" at an altitude of 15 mm over a track 620 m in length, it operated for nearly 11 years, but was scrapped because spare parts for the system were no longer available. It was temporarily replaced by a bus; the chosen replacement system, the DCC Doppelmayr Cable Car Cable Liner Shuttle, was announced in late 2000 and construction started in 2001. The Interchange was opened in March 2003; the system was known as SkyRail but in 2004 it was renamed AirRail Link. The airport can be reached via a dedicated fast bus service from Coleshill Parkway station, on the Birmingham to Peterborough Line.
Under cover walkways and Travelators connect the NEC buildings to the station and to the Air-Rail Link, which in turn connects to Birmingham Airport. A new Birmingham Interchange railway station is to be built on the other side of the M42 motorway from the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham Airport and this station; the new interchange would be connected by a "rapid transit people mover" to the other sites. Rail Around Birmingham and the West Midlands: Birmingham International station
Chester railway station
Chester railway station in Newtown, north-east of Chester city centre, England, is operated by Transport for Wales. Services from Merseyrail and Virgin Trains use the station. From 1875 to 1969 the station was known as Chester General to distinguish it from Chester Northgate; the station's Italianate frontage was designed by the architect Francis Thompson. Work on a £10 million regeneration scheme, the Chester Renaissance programme was completed in 2007; the development includes a new roof, improved customer facilities and improved access to the station. A plaque commemorating Thomas Brassey is installed on the wall opposite the booking office; the station marks one end of the Baker Way a footpath leading to Delamere railway station. Scheduled departures from Chester Station are: a quarter-hourly Merseyrail electric service on the Wirral Line to Liverpool, half-hourly in the evenings and on Sundays. Northern plans to operate an hourly train to Leeds stopping at Warrington Bank Quay, Newton-le-Willows Manchester Victoria, Bradford Interchange and Leeds.
On 23 September 1840, the first station at Chester was opened by the Birkenhead Railway. One week on 1 October 1840, the Chester and Crewe Railway opened a separate station. Neither station was open for long, due to the inconvenience of transferring goods and passengers between them, they were replaced by the new joint station at the junction between the CBR, CCR and Robert Stephenson's new Chester and Holyhead Railway which started at the joint station. The station was designed by the architect Francis Thompson, constructed by Thomas Brassey; the engineer C. H. Wild designed. Elements of the overall design were produced including Stephenson. On 1 August 1847, construction of the station began, the foundation stone was laid by Brassey, it was built by a workforce of around 2,000 people, including bricklayers, carpenters, roofers and other skilled and unskilled workers. On 1 August 1848, Chester Station was opened a year after construction began; the opening was met with great acclaim amongst the city's populace due to the wide range of destinations that could be reached for the first time.
The station building is built of Staffordshire blue brick and pale grey Storeton sandstone with slate roofs in the Italianate style. It has a 305-metre two-storey façade with a 15-bay central section and 5-bay lateral projecting pavilions, each of which have two towers. A large clock, manufactured by J. B. Joyce & Co on the front of the station was located centrally, but was moved to the western half of the facade following the construction of the Queen Hotel, which obscured it; the central section's middle seven bays contain carvings by sculptor John Thomas. Several carved wooden owls occupy locations in the roof beams above platform 4 to deter feral pigeons from roosting; as first built, the station had a single through platform, a pair of bay platforms, the main building. Early on, it became trafficked due to its position as a junction between multiple lines and railway companies. In its first few decades of opening, it was expanded via the construction of sidings, warehouses and two motive power depots to service steam locomotives that belonged to different railway companies.
To accommodate the increasing number of passengers and freight in the 1860s and 1870s, the station was extended again. Two island platforms, two bay platforms, additional facilities connected via a footbridge to the existing station were completed by 1890. From its opening on 1 August 1848, Chester was a joint station used by the Chester and Holyhead and Crewe and Birkenhead Railways; these companies were merged into the North Western Railway. The LNWR worked in conjunction with the Great Western Railway, which operated the line to Wrexham and Shrewsbury; the LNWR and GWR jointly owned the Birkenhead Railway. Chester Station was served by GWR express passenger trains from Birkenhead Woodside via Chester, Ruabon, Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton, Birmingham Snow Hill, Leamington Spa and Banbury to London Paddington until 4 March 1967; the final service, a special The Zulu, was hauled by 7029 Clun Castle. During 1875, Chester Northgate railway station was opened by the Cheshire Lines Committee. To prevent confusion between the stations, the older station was renamed "Chester General".
In 1969, as a result of the Beeching cuts, Chester Northgate was closed and Chester General reverted to Chester. Peak activity was during the Edwardian era when more than 200 trains called at the station daily and more than one hundred staff were employed. Large quantities of freight were moved, including the Royal Mail's letters and parcels business. Special excursion trains were laid on for Chester Races. During the First World War, troop trains used the station when moving military personnel from training camps in North Wales to the Western Front. During the interwar period, the station was busy, only affected by the rise of road transportation. Trams, buses linked the station to the city and its suburbs. During the Second World War, the station saw a high volume of traffic, including trains hauling ammunition, it survived the conflict unscathed, sustaining no direct hits but to mitigate against aerial attacks, a concrete bunker w
Manchester Piccadilly station
Manchester Piccadilly is the principal railway station in Manchester, England. Opened as Store Street in 1842, it was renamed Manchester London Road in 1847 and Manchester Piccadilly in 1960. Located to the south-east of Manchester city centre, it hosts long-distance intercity and cross-country services to national destinations including London, Glasgow, Cardiff, Exeter, Reading and Bournemouth, it is one of 19 major stations managed by Network Rail. The station has twelve terminal and two through platforms. Piccadilly is a major interchange with the Metrolink light rail system with two tram platforms in its undercroft. Piccadilly is the busiest station in the Manchester station group with nearly 28 million passenger entries and exits between April 2017 and March 2018, it is the fourth busiest station in the United Kingdom outside London. The station hosts services from six train operating companies, it is the second busiest interchange station outside London, with 3.8 million passengers changing trains annually.
Between the late 1990s and early 2000s, Piccadilly Station was refurbished, taking five years and costing £100 million, it was the most expensive improvement on the UK rail network at the time. Further improvements and expansion plans have been proposed. In December 2014, a Transport and Works Act application was submitted for the construction of two through platforms as part of the Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Oxford Road Capacity Scheme; as of 2019, this application has not been approved by the incumbent government. To allow the station to accommodate high speed services under High Speed 2 proposals, five platforms would be required and the Metrolink station would be reconfigured. A preferred option of the more speculative High Speed 3 programme requires the construction of more platforms underneath the existing platforms. In June 1840, the Manchester and Birmingham Railway opened a temporary terminus on its line to Stockport on Travis Street. A large site, 1,700 ft long by 500 ft wide, was cleared of terraced houses and industrial premises to make way for the permanent station Store Street, built on top of a viaduct, 30 ft above ground level.
The station was opened adjacent to London Road on 8 May 1842. It had two platforms and passenger amenities and by the line had been extended to Crewe. Store Street was designed by M&BR's chief engineer, George W. Buck, who designed many of the line's structures including the Stockport Viaduct. Charles Hutton Gregory was the assistant engineer; the station was shared from the beginning with the Sheffield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Manchester Railway following an agreement made by the promoters in 1837. The M&BR amalgamated with other railway companies to create the London and North Western Railway in 1846; the SA&MR changed its name to the Manchester and Lincolnshire Railway three years later. In 1847, the station was renamed London Road. In 1849 the Manchester, South Junction and Altrincham Railway began using the station after its line from Manchester Oxford Road was extended, its single platform which opened on 1 August 1849 to the south of, adjacent to the main part of station, was the predecessor of through platforms 13 and 14.
The MSJA&R's line connected to the main line south of the station and formed a through route to the LNWR's line to Liverpool. By the 1850s, London Road was overcrowded and the relationship between the LNWR and MS&LR had deteriorated. In 1862, the station was rebuilt and expanded so that it could be divided, the MS&LR occupying the north-eastern side and the LNWR the south-western side; the station was given a new entrance building and concourse and each company had separate booking offices and passenger facilities. A 656 ft long iron and glass trainshed was built over the terminal platforms. On 20 January 1866, a fatal accident occurred during the roof's construction, when part of it collapsed killing two workmen and injuring 30 others; the enquiry determined that the collapse was caused by heavy snowfall. At the same time, both companies built warehouses around the northern side of the station, the viaduct south of the station to Ardwick was widened to carry four tracks. Within ten years, the station was again over-crowded as traffic continued to increase and expansion was again required.
Between 1880 and 1883, the LNWR widened its side of the station and built more platforms, which were covered by two more 69 ft wide arched spans to the trainshed. At the same time, the MSJ&AR platform was taken out and rebuilt as an island platform on a girder bridge over Fairfield Street and linked to the main station by a footbridge. In May 1882, the improvements were opened. In 1910, the adjacent Mayfield station opened with four platforms to alleviate overcrowding at London Road; the stations were linked by a footbridge. Mayfield station closed to passengers in 1960 and to all traffic in 1986; the derelict station has remained in situ despite proposed redevelopment schemes including reopening it to relieve demand. Following the 1923 railway grouping, the LNWR amalgamated with several other railway companies to create the London and Scottish Railway, the GCR amalgamated with other railways to create the London and North Eastern Railway; the division of the station was maintained and it continued to be operated as two separate statio